Life as a Hospice Nurse Part 1

I started my nursing career in 2000 working on an inpatient Oncology (cancer) unit.  I had very little experience working with cancer patients other than a few patients here and there during nursing school.  I worked on that Oncology floor for 4 years.  In that time I took care of many people all in different phases of their battle with cancer.  For some their battle was just beginning, for some it was coming to an end.  Some were on their way to remission.  Some were accepting of their diagnosis.  Some never accepted it.  One patient believed he had been healed by a faith healer through his tv screen, refused treatment of any kind . . . and died several months later at the age of 24 leaving behind a wife and a 2 year old son.  I have cared for old patients and I have cared for teenagers.  Rich people and poor people.  The educated and the uneducated.  Cancer does not know any limits and it is not prejudice.

I have tried to offer some kind of comfort to families whose loved ones are in their final stages of life.  From the 94 year old grandmother with the two daughters in their 70s, to the young 30-something husband whose wife died on my shift, underneath my hands doing the compressions, the very day she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I have administered chemo.  I have given more units of blood than I could count.  I have been involved in bringing people back to life and I have sat and held their hands as they passed away.

After 4 years on the Oncology floor I moved onto Home Health.  I loved Home Health.  For one reason, our goal was to get our patients better and to be able to discharge them back to an independent lifestyle.  But still I had my difficult moments.  In home health it is easy to become very attached to your patients.  I have had many that have transferred into Hospice services because there was nothing more that could be done for them and that was tough.

We moved to NC in May and Aaron began a job as a Hospice Chaplain.  I never imagined that he would end up in that role.  (I don’t know why because he is really one of the nicest people that I know!).  He immediately fell in love with his job.  He would tell me stories about his patients and different things they were going through.  I was jealous because it made me miss home health!  After a few months his boss convinced me to apply for a position.  I was offered a part time/PRN (as needed) position.  I took it and began the next phase of my career as a Hospice Nurse.

I have been working as a Hospice nurse now for about two months.  It has had it’s rough moments but last week was by far the roughest so far.  I’ll share more tomorrow about what exactly it is that I do ( I get asked that a lot) and some of my thoughts on Hospice so far.

4 Responses to “Life as a Hospice Nurse Part 1”

  1. 1 monkeylove2002 October 20, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Oh, Laura, I am sooooo proud of you! I could never do the things you have written about (I’m sitting here in tears just thinking about it) but I am thankful there are caring, compassionate people, like you, that can!!!

    Love you much! MOM

  2. 3 Melissa October 20, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    I know that when Dad was fighting his battle with cancer, you were a huge comfort to me! And I will forever be thankful for the hospice group that helped us through Dad’s final hours. They were some of the sweetest and most compassionate people. I have a great deal of respect for you and not only because of what you do but because of who you are! You are amazing!! God is using you in great ways to help His people. Thank you for being open to His call!

    Love you!

  3. 4 monkeylove2002 February 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Who has been hacking my account? LOL! AG

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October 2009

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